How to Use Professional Strobe Lights in Your Home

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How to Use Professional Strobe Lights in Your Home

Aspiring photographers and filmmakers can set up professional strobe lights in their home by using a lighting kit or buying each piece separately. In addition to the light, the homeowner may want to purchase a diffuser, sync cord, and strobe umbrella. Setup is straightforward, but there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to art, so some creativity is required.


Get the Equipment

Unfortunately, aspiring photographers can’t simply place a strobe light in the lounge and call it a day. To properly use a professional strobe light, they need a diffuser and sync cord. A diffuser does exactly what its name implies: diffuses harsh light to create a softer look. A sync cord connects to the camera and usually comes with the strobe light. Some people choose to connect their cameras wirelessly with a transmitter and receiver.


Adjust the ISO

The next step is to adjust the camera's sensitivity to light. This is called the ISO, and it stands for International Standards Organization. A high ISO means the camera is especially sensitive to light. For a camera to work well with a studio strobe, photographers set the ISO anywhere from 100 to 400. One hundred is essentially the default on digital SLR cameras, and 400 is so sensitive the camera can capture images after dusk.


Adjust the Aperture

Aperture regulates how much light passes through the lens. Adjusting the camera's aperture as well as the ISO ensures the final photograph is not overexposed. When using a strobe, photographers adjust their cameras from f 8 to f 12. The default is generally around f 1.4.


Position the Strobe Lights

There is no perfect position for a professional strobe light. In general, however, photographers place them at least 1 meter away from the subject. Depending on the shot, the light might be several meters away. Another rule of thumb is to place the camera a little less than 2 meters to the strobe's right side. The final position of the lights and diffuser is based on the subject, the photographer's preferences, and the arrangement of furniture in the home. Photographers may end up pushing furniture around to achieve the ideal setup, which is a potential downside of shooting at home.


Start Photographing

Part of photography is trial and error. Photographers can take dozens or even hundreds of pictures before finding a few that meet their standards. Beginners shouldn't get frustrated if they need to make adjustments to their strobe light setup, or don't see appealing photographs during the first minutes of a shoot. They can always rearrange the setup or take more pictures after adjusting the subject.

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